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November 3, 2019 10:27 am

Israeli Court Stops Auction of Letter Written by 11-Year-Old Jewish Holocaust Victim

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Memorial to Jewish children murdered by the Nazis, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, April 11, 2011. Photo: Avishai Teicher via Wikimedia Commons. – The Tel Aviv District Court blocked the sale of a letter written by an 11-year-old Jewish-Polish girl who was killed in the Holocaust following protest by her family members.

Five letters written by children in Poland, sent to their counterparts at a school in Haifa before the outbreak of World War II, were set to be auctioned on Tuesday at the Dynasty Auction House in Jerusalem. Among the letters was one written by Rachel Mintz, who described life in Poland in 1937 and talked about her desire to immigrate to Israel.

Mintz remained in Poland with her mother and hid during the war while her older brothers fled east and survived the Holocaust. She and her mother were murdered when she was 16, after a Jew from the town informed the Germans of their hiding place.

The sale of the four other letters was blocked on Tuesday night following an appeal by the Zaglembie World Organization, a memorial group for the Jewish communities in Poland from which the children were from.

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“It is morally unacceptable and highly distasteful that anyone should trade in personal items, artifacts or documents of Holocaust victims or from the Holocaust era,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

The seller, Israeli businessman Dudi Zilbershlag, is a member of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum council and said he bought the letters at the Jaffa Flea Market.

Mintz’s family sued for custody of the letter, but at an initial hearing, representatives of the auction house offered to sell it to them.

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